In September, we visited Sardinia for our family holiday. Amidst the hot, dusty streets of the tiny Sardinian villages we visited, many of the churches were a welcome, cool balm to the dazzling sunshine. Imagine our surprise when we came across a church in Tempio Pausania filled with dozens of nativity scenes.
Except, it turns out that it wasn’t a church at all, but the Museo del Presepe; a museum housed in the renovated 13th century Church of Santa Maria and now home to an abundance of nativity scenes. We honestly thought it was just a church that must have been holding a competition, and we couldn’t read any of the signs to explain what it was. Having read the website, it says that the collection is displayed over two floors and contains over 900 nativity scenes! Some of them date from the 18th century. It looks like we saw some of the school produced ones along with some of the older scenes from the 18th century. If we’d have realised it was a proper museum, I think we would have spent even longer there. As it was, we managed about 20 minutes before the kids got bored.
There seemed to be every style, material and medium you could think of to create the various renditions of the nativity.
Some of the detail of the scenes is phenomenal. It must have taken hours of work to craft them.
One of my favourites is this one:
I love the toadstool house (obviously) and it’s just such a simple design, but the wall around looks similar to the many ancient nuraghe and historical sites we visited while we were there.
I also like that cork one as cork is manufactured extensively and almost exclusively in Sardinia. I really fancied buying a big bit of cork while we were there, but couldn’t think what to do with it. Should have bought some to make a nativity with, obviously.
There were far more of the scenes in the museum than I’ve taken pictures of. I tried to get a range of the different types of nativities that had been made. If you visit the museum’s webpage, it does give a good range of information about the dates, materials and inspiration behind some of the scenes.
I think the ladybird themed one is a particularly random one. And the corrugated cardboard one is… um… interesting! I’m not sure I’d want that one on display. It’s given us the idea of trying to make our own nativity scene for display; we did plan to do it this year, but as usual we have too many ideas and not enough time to do everything.
Which one is your favourite of the nativity scenes? Have you ever made one, or do you have one to display?
Museo del Presepe
Via XXV Aprile, 179
Dalmine – Bergamo
Holidays: 9-12 / 14-19
25, 26, 31/12 and 01/01 the museum will be open from 15:00 to 19:00
The website says it costs 5 euros per adult, however we visited and there wasn’t a soul in there. The door was open and we walked in. Worth a visit if you’re in the area.